Tuesday, July 17, 2018

On obvious signs and "hidden rules..."

Presenting a video can be a simple use of tech that can establish context, provide visual support, engage students in discussion, and open the door to a related post-activity addressing language skills. A good example is this video which features about 100 unnecessary signs such as:

The video moves quickly, but pause as many times as you want! You can also screenshot to pick and choose signs you'd like to explore (perhaps a good move to work on functional reading). Some ideas on using the video:
-Metalinguistics: what makes the message obvious and unnecessary?
-Social Cognition: the video can be used to have students practice "thinking with their eyes" for the greater context of what makes the sign silly, as well as engaging in humor. Using signs in therapy activities is also a good way to introduce the related Social Thinking® concept of "Hidden Rules" (related to Dr. Brenda Smith Myles' Hidden Curriculum); there are many (more complex than shown here) rules that we need to learn through observation and experience in order to be successful socially.
-Narrative Language: Have students discuss or sketch stories depicting why someone thought these particular signs were necessary. This context would also allow for working on complex language and conjunctions like if, because, and so.


  1. This is great. On a related note, I had to interpret a sign for my 8-year old when he asked, "Why is this place 'fine for littering'?" Ha!

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